The Biden administration quietly condemned an attack on the office of an anti-abortion group in Wisconsin Monday after the organization’s headquarters were set on fire, vandalized, and graffitied over the weekend.
“President Biden strongly condemns this attack and political violence of any stripe. The president has made clear throughout his time in public life that Americans have the fundamental right to express themselves under the Constitution, whatever their point of view,” an anonymous White House official told The Hill.
“But that expression must be peaceful and free of violence, vandalism, or attempts to intimidate,” the person said.
Fire was reported at the building that houses the Wisconsin Family Action group in Madison at around 6 a.m. Sunday and firefighters quickly doused the flames.
Law enforcement officials are investigating the blaze as arson after a Molotov cocktail that did not go off was found at the scene.
Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling told Madison.com that she and another member of the group found a broken window and burned books when they arrived.
Sprayed on the side of the building were the words “If abortions aren’t safe then you aren’t either,” along with a letter “A” in a circle, the symbol of anarchism.
“What you’re going to see here is a direct threat against us,” Appling told the outlet. “Imagine if somebody had been in the office when this happened. They would have been hurt.”
The attack took place just days after the leak of a draft Supreme Court decision that showed the justices are poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that legalized abortion across the country.
The document, written by Justice Samuel Alito, has sparked protests across the country, including at the Supreme Court building in Washington and over the weekend at the homes of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
The White House on Monday also denounced those protests.
“@POTUS strongly believes in the Constitutional right to protest. But that should never include violence, threats, or vandalism,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki posted on Twitter.
“Judges perform an incredibly important function in our society, and they must be able to do their jobs without concern for their personal safety,” she said.
The Republican National Committee accused the White House of not taking a hard enough line against destructive protests.
“Biden’s refusal to denounce left-wing violence and intimidation is dangerous and ensures it will not stop,” RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel said in a statement. “These far-left radicals know they have permission from Biden and Democrats to commit violence against pro-life organizations, harass churchgoers, and threaten and obstruct the Supreme Court. Biden and Democrats are responsible as long as they remain silent.”